City Public Sector : Ethical Renewal

  • 5
  • November 15, 2013
  • David Lapin

Case Study Details

The Challenge
A Lapin International (formerly SBE) study of a large city department revealed how low levels of internal trust and morale coupled with staff shortages could erupt into ethical lapses among management and employees. The city recognized the loss of money and, importantly, reputation that such lapses would cause and engaged Lapin International to intervene.

The Process
Lapin International guided the department's leaders through several intense and candid workshops that moved leadership to examine its contribution to the community and craft a system of values to guide every decision and govern all conduct. After receiving approval for the system and its implications from the city manager, the department proceeded to implement visible and meaningful change in the way it operates, in line with the value system. It restructured the way it works and re-engineered its relationship with the city council and the city management. It entered a new era of open and honest communication with all employees and demanded higher levels of commitment from them. It began the process of increasing it's staffing in critical areas while identifying how to eliminate certain programs without negatively impacting the department's mission and purpose or the city's quality of life.

The Result
This resulted in improved efficiency and reduced overtime that would deliver cost savings to the city to help it meet its current tight budgetary conditions. Key to the success of this project was the degree to which the leaders of all the bureaus in the department and their employees joined together to accomplish this new level of departmental ethic and efficiency. Trust started to grow, morale improved, and perceptions of the department in the city and community were considerably enhanced as, with renewed efficiency and vigor, the department continued to provide its outstanding service.